Search This Blog

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Justin: kicking homophobia off the field of play

A campaign to stamp out homophobia in British soccer begins today, in memory of, as far as is known, the world's first openly gay professional footballer, Justin Fashanu. The campaign, named after him, is called, simply, Justin.

An event in Brighton tonight (two days after the tenth anniversary of Fashanu's death) will kick off the campaign. It's being addressed by the gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and Justin's co-founder, Jason Hall, and is due to be held at 5 p.m., after the Stonewall equality walk there.

A campaign spokesman says, "The FA, in conjunction with [the gay lobby group] Stonewall and the GFSN [Gay Football Supporters' Network], are fighting anti-gay prejudice on the terraces, looking to stamp out the kind of chants that haunted Justin. But ten years after his death, which the football world refused to mark, there are still no openly gay professional players or managers."

If the former Juventus managing director, Luciano Moggi, is right, there are no gays in football. Anywhere. Impossible. This is what the Pink News article linked to above quotes him as having told an Italian TV network: "I don't know if players are against having them in their team but I definitely am. In the teams where I worked there were never any. I never wanted to have a homosexual player and I still wouldn't sign one.

"I'm old-school but I know the ambience of football, and a gay wouldn't be able to survive within it. A homosexual cannot do the job of a footballer. The football world is not designed for them, it's a special atmosphere, one in which you stand naked under the showers."

Er, yes, well . . .

A 2006 survey found out that 57 per cent of footballers think that soccer is homophobic. The Justin campaign aims to get the FA to observe Saturday, 2 May 2009, as Justin Fashanu Day. It will be asking Premier and Football League players to support Justin Fashanu Day by wearing black armbands and observing a minute's silence before matches.

No comments: